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Questions tagged [game-cartridge]

For questions related to cartridge-based games and applications

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114 votes
5 answers
26k views

How can tilting a N64 cartridge cause such subtle glitches?

When the N64 cartridge is tilted in Super Mario 64, it reliably produces glitches such as this. Mario's limbs disappear, he rotates 90° and sinks into the floor, and the music gets messed up (usually ...
Jack M's user avatar
  • 1,243
86 votes
1 answer
58k views

How exactly does Sonic & Knuckles' 'Lock-On Technology' work?

The cartridge of Sonic & Knuckles is a little special. It flips open to allow you to connect another Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in US) cartridge to the top of it like so: Click for larger images I ...
Robotnik's user avatar
  • 1,030
53 votes
7 answers
12k views

Why use static RAM addresses instead of the stack?

I'm studying the 65c816 assembly for the 1994 game, Super Metroid. A hobbyist studied the game in-depth and created a RAM map. From it: 7E:0B56 - 7E:0B57 Moves Samus this distance horizontally, ...
Andrew Cheong's user avatar
46 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why would older video games include fragments of source code?

One thing that was surprisingly common in older video games (around the same era assembly language was king) was the inclusion of uncompiled, plaintext source code in the ROM. You can see many ...
Mike Nielsen's user avatar
  • 2,897
40 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is it possible to know which lines in the Gameboy Color cartridge connection is missing by looking at the glitched Nintendo logo?

Context: I'm building a gameboy color flash cartridge based on the rp2040 mcu, I have came to the point where it displays an almost complete nintendo bootlogo at the startup. However, a few pixels(...
Ömer Gezer's user avatar
36 votes
4 answers
14k views

Why do Game Boy games have explicit save functions, instead of using battery-backed non-volatile cartridge SRAM to store the game state?

Game Boy games used a battery-backed SRAM module for their save states. Since the SRAM module retains its whole content, why do Game Boy games always need a manual save operation? Wouldn't it be much ...
Dakkaron's user avatar
  • 453
35 votes
7 answers
14k views

Why did Commodore 64 cartridge games disappear?

The Commodore 64 has a cartridge slot, but by the mid-eighties, cartridge games disappeared; everything was on tape or disk. Why? One answer that suggests itself is that by that time, a larger ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.2k
34 votes
17 answers
17k views

Did computer games for Commodore 64 really take "25 minutes" to load "if everything went alright"?

In the Swedish-language song "Nostalgi" by Markoolio from 2003, some of the lyrics go: My first computer had 64 kB you surfed on the water, and that's that The computer games were loaded ...
Kommendåre 64's user avatar
33 votes
3 answers
5k views

Reconditioning and cleaning old Nintendo (and other) game cartridges

I used to blow the dust out of the cartridges but I heard that can actually damage the cartridge or the system itself. I am looking for the proper way to clean old Nintendo game cartridges (such as ...
Tim Penner's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
6k views

How could the SNES take advantage of in-cartridge coprocessors that weren't invented when the SNES came out?

The SNES had a number of "enhancement chips" that were available in the cartridges. These chips did lots of different things. How did these chips actually transfer data to the SNES? How did ...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
24 votes
3 answers
7k views

What causes the glitchy sound when a GBA cartridge is removed?

Example in mGBA (mirror) — SOUND WARNING. When you remove a game cartridge from a powered-on GBA, it makes this horrible, loud glitching sound. I can tell that a small portion of the looped sound is ...
leetbacoon's user avatar
19 votes
6 answers
6k views

Can removing a cartridge from an NES (or any other cartridge-based game system) damage the hardware or software?

On some cartridge-based video game systems (NES, Game Boy Color, etc.) it is possible to remove the cartridge while the game system is still powered on. What kind of damage can this behavior do to ...
JAL's user avatar
  • 9,620
19 votes
4 answers
5k views

Unlicensed home computer ports of arcade games

During the 1980s, it was quite common to see unofficial ports of popular arcade games released on home computer systems. For instance, Acornsoft (the software division of Acorn Computers) released ...
pmarflee's user avatar
  • 697
18 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can I run a NES emulator off the original cartridges?

Every NES emulator I've found runs off ROM dumps. Would it be possible to run an emulator using the original cartridges directly? It's probably not the most practical way of doing things, but the "...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,585
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

Minimum game cartridge manufacturing time

I saw a remark in a documentary on the 1990s game console industry, The Story of the Nintendo 64 - Nintendo's Defiant Innovation - The Complete Deep Dive Story, that a key point that swayed third-...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.2k
16 votes
2 answers
3k views

Were cartridge slots cheaper at the back?

I'm remembering a difference in the design of Commodore computers like the Vic and 64, versus the Atari 8-bits, and game consoles from the likes of Atari and Nintendo: they all had cartridge slots, ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.2k
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Were there any enhancement chips that vastly outperformed the main CPU?

Were there any enhancement chips in officially-released games that were CPUs themselves and which ran the game code itself, relegating the role of the main CPU to that of a thin client? To elaborate, ...
forest's user avatar
  • 2,029
15 votes
1 answer
848 views

What differentiated the Master System's Sega Card format from cartridges?

I know that the Sega Master system had two primary game formats: cartridges just like the NES and other game consoles of the time and the "Sega Card" which was a 2mm thick plastic card with contact ...
David's user avatar
  • 2,420
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why are NES cartridges grey while Famicom are rather colourful?

I've parsed a lot of websites and can't find answer anywhere. But still wonder to know why famicom cartridges are so colorful and different, but American and European cartridges grey only?
Lexx Tesla's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
4k views

Did GBA execute code directly from ROM, or load it into memory?

Older systems, such as the NES, would often access the ROM in real-time rather than caching the data in system memory, sometimes even reading the same data every single frame. This would result in an ...
forest's user avatar
  • 2,029
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

How can I rejuvenate Game Boy contacts? [duplicate]

I've got an old Nintendo Game Boy, with a number of games for it. The problem is that most of these games don't load any more, and I suspect that's an issue with the contacts either in the unit, or in ...
Åna's user avatar
  • 431
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did all NES "Black Box" games come in carts with five screws?

When the NES was released, there were a list of original titles from Nintendo such as Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros. and Metroid. These titles came in a distinctive box that was mostly black. Plus, the ...
cbmeeks's user avatar
  • 8,531
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why are the internals of NES Gamepaks so small compared to the case?

As you probably know, in the technology world, smaller is generally considered to be better. Companies compete to make the most portable phone, or the smallest laptop, but apparently Nintendo didn't ...
Badasahog's user avatar
  • 4,041
11 votes
2 answers
10k views

How did Satoru Iwata compress Pokemon GS to fit two regions on a single cartridge?

Satoru Iwata's story of saving the development of Pokemon Gold & Silver by compressing its assets to fit on the GameBoy Color cartridge is something of a legend. Iwata optimised the game so much ...
shortstheory's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Did any SNES games use the fast ROM?

According to the transcript at https://fabiensanglard.net/another_world_polygons_SNES/ ... I could get the software running again to run at about 30 frames per second if of course I'm using a fast ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.2k
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What cleaning/repair can be done to a Mega Drive cartridge slot?

My Mega Drive's cartridges rarely boot. It's to the point where I sometimes don't want to change the current game because it'll mean 15 minutes of me constantly taking out and re-seating the next ...
Robotnik's user avatar
  • 1,030
10 votes
6 answers
2k views

Maximum size of 8-bit computer cartridges

What was the largest cartridge produced, or possible, for any 8-bit home computer? That is, the later 8 or 16-bit console cartridges could be surprisingly large, up to several megabytes in some cases,...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.2k
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

How does the sequence $C3, $C2, $CD translate to "CBM"?

I am fiddling with C64 cartridges and have successfully created one with a 32k EEPROM (of which I only use the top 8k). For the autoboot though, according to this source, I need to put the string ...
Bart Friederichs's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Did blowing into an N64 cartridge really affect whether or not the game would run?

I remember when playing on the N64 if the game didn't start running when I turned on the N64, I would remove the cartridge, blow into the cartridge where the pins were located, then slam the cartridge ...
Retro Gamer's user avatar
  • 2,435
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are there any open-source C64 DOS wedges and fast loaders?

The ever-so-popular EPYX Fast Load cartridge for the Commodore 64 included a DOS wedge (adding commands such as $ to list the files on a disk, /filename to load a file and @ to show the disk error ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 26.7k
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

How can a Game Boy game "glitch-inherit" the music from a different game like this?

Just now, I saw a stream of a person playing Game Boy games. The technical setup is like this: Real American SNES. Real Super Game Boy 2. (Only released in Japan; fixes the speed bug in the Super ...
Giacobbe's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
1 answer
837 views

Did the Timex Sinclair 2068 and the Sinclair ZX Interface 2 use totally different hardware and software techniques?

Sinclair released an add-on for the Spectrum called the ZX Interface 2 that provided joystick ports and a cartridge slot. It wasn't successful and only a few cartridges were ever produced. In the US, ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 6,654
9 votes
5 answers
3k views

C64 cartridge emulation with ATmega

As a personal project I had the idea to create a custom cartridge for my Commodore 64 and use an ATmega 1284p microcontroller to emulate eproms and/or custom chips. Basically my idea is similar to ...
MastErAldo's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

Which cartridges were typically used together on Commodore 64 systems?

It's possible to extend the Commodore 64 expansion port bus with boards like the [Aprospand-64]: This example dates from 1986, but there appear to have been a number of contemporary expanders, and ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 26.7k
9 votes
4 answers
10k views

Why do N64 cartridges use 2 different technologies for saving to the cart?

I've noticed that most N64 cartridges don't have batteries, but about 12 of them do. According to a google search, the cartridges without batteries use EEPROM and the cartridges with batteries use ...
Unknown's user avatar
  • 1,025
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Game cartridges on the S-100 bus?

Many Z80 computers in the seventies and early eighties used the S-100 bus, into which you could plug many kinds of expansion cards. Would it have been possible to plug suitably designed game ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.2k
9 votes
1 answer
549 views

Was the Ram Turbo the only 3rd party Interface 2 ROM cartridge interface for the ZX Spectrum or were there others?

One of the original Sinclair peripherals for the ZX Spectrum was the Interface 2 which provided joystick ports and also a slot for ROM cartridges: The cartridges did not catch on though and only ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 6,654
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to get a dump of a particular ROM?

How do I create a dump of a Game Boy game so that I can have it for backup as a ROM? I know that I can download the ROM (though slightly illegal) if I really wanted to, but I want to know "how" ROM ...
Retro Gamer's user avatar
  • 2,435
9 votes
1 answer
411 views

How many commercial Spectrum ROM cartridges were released?

According to this site, Sinclair released a total of ten titles on cartridge: all games that were popular on cassette, and all in 1983, the year the Interface 2 was released. I know the cartridges ...
Pastychomper thanks Monica's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
3k views

How is it possible that this "Polymega™" console will "not support" Everdrives?

I'm reading here: https://polymega.com/faq/ WILL EVERDRIVES, GAME GENIES AND MULTI-GAME CARTS WORK WITH POLYMEGA™? Polymega™ does not support Game Genies or Everdrives. How is that possible? What's ...
Nysire's user avatar
  • 99
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Was cost the only reason why demo cartridge games weren't produced?

I was reading on this page about the Final Fantasy demo cartridge, and I wondered why more cartridge games didn't have demos. From this wiki page: The availability of demos varies between formats....
user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Was there any indication that video game companies tried to circumvent Game Shark?

Have video game developers blocked the ability of GameShark to find unused content in games (that they either didn't have time to remove unused, or plan to use in an updated version or sequel) I ...
user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
910 views

What EPROMs should I use to make my own NES cartridges?

I want to make my own NES cartridge, but I don't know what the correct type of ROM chip would be. I am specifically thinking about the simplest PCB that works, an NES-NROM-128 which consists of a 16 ...
Michael Stum's user avatar
  • 1,680
7 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why would poking an inserted Game Boy cartridge while powered on cause a game/device to hang? [duplicate]

I say "a device" because I'm not convinced that this happens on an actual Game Boy. (I haven't been able to provoke it on mine yet.) I've seen several videos of people showing how their ...
Diggs's user avatar
  • 87
7 votes
1 answer
751 views

How did Mega-Lo-Mania's save state system work?

To continue a game in Mega-Lo-Mania (AKA Tyrants) on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis, you would enter an eight digit code into the interface and then you could resume a session. Presumably, the code ...
Nicholas Hill's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
445 views

What does "Expanded Memory" mean on a Philips Videopac G7000 game?

I bought a Philips Videopac G7000 because it looks awesome. Now I need to shop for some games. I'm interested in this AAA+ title, Crazy Chase: However, on the box it says EXPANDED MEMORY/MEMOIRE ...
pipe's user avatar
  • 1,713
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Cartridge modems - was the Vic-20 a special case?

'The Home Computer Wars' has this to say about the development of the cartridge modem for the Vic-20: The size of the case was another problem. Most modems came in bulky rectangular boxes about 10 ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.2k
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

What was the purpose of GROM (vs ROM) in the TI-99/4a?

The TI-99/4a had a cartridge slot on the front of the computer which accepted "solid state cartridges" (as TI called them). These cartridges would typically contain ROM (Read Only Memory) like many ...
cbmeeks's user avatar
  • 8,531
6 votes
2 answers
633 views

Is it safe for C64 cartridges to respond to read and/or write requests on "unmapped" addresses?

According to the C64 wiki, asserting G̅A̅M̅E̅ on the cartridge port (and not asserting E̅X̅R̅O̅M̅) of the C64 leaves three blocks of the C64 address space "unmapped": 28 KB @ $1000 (otherwise RAM), 8 ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 26.7k
6 votes
2 answers
613 views

Where to find a ROM dump for the Atari ST cartridge 'ACTION'

Back in the day I owned a couple Atari ST, I used a cartridge based program for writing video games. It was called "ACTION" Does anyone remember this program or even better, know where I can get a ROM ...
LewinskyS's user avatar
  • 549